This richly colored memoir chronicles the exploits of a flamboyant Jewish family, from its bold arrival in cosmopolitan Alexandria to its defeated exodus three generations later. In elegant and witty prose, AndrÃ© Aciman introduces us to the marvelous eccentrics who shaped his life--Uncle Vili, the strutting daredevil, soldier, salesman, and spy; the two grandmothers, the Princess and the Saint, who gossip in six languages; Aunt Flora, the German refugee who warns that Jews lose everything ""at least twice in their lives."" And through it all, we come to know a boy who, even as he longs for a wider world, does not want to be led, forever, out of Egypt.
""It is Mr. Aciman's great achievement that he has re-created a world gone forever now, and given us an ironical and affectionate portrait of those who were exiled from it.""--The New York Times Book Review
""Aciman may have gone out of Egypt but, as this evocative and imaginative book makes plain, he has never left it, nor it him.""--The Washington Post
""With beguiling simplicity, Aciman recalls the life of Alexandria as [his family] knew it, and the seductiveness of that beautiful, polyglot city permeates his book.""--The New Yorker
""Beautifully remembered and even more beautifully written.""--Los Angeles Times Book Review
""The past recaptured in [Aciman's] elegant memoir is full of cucumber lotion and Schubert melodies, Parmesan cheese and the chatter of backgammon chips--all the smells and sounds of Alexandria that he knew before [leaving].""--The New Republic
""To find Alexandria in these pages, all rosy and clear-eyed from the tonic of Aciman's telling, is the greatest imaginable gift.""--James Merrill
""An extraordinary memoir of an eccentric family, a fascinating milieu, and a complex cosmopolitan culture. This beautifully written book combines the sensuousness of Lawrence Durrell, the magic of Garcia Marquez, and the realism of intimate observation. A rich portrait of a surprising and now-vanished world.""--Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation